More surprising were the many anti-black jokes thrown at Nichelle Nichols, another roaster and "Star Trek" castmate (Lt. Uhura). A whole pile of racial stereotypes were thrown out there, with comedienne Lisa Lampanelli urging Shatner: "Don't kill yourself. Then Uhura over there won't have anyone's house to clean. I kid. I love you, Nichelle -- or as they called you on the Enterprise, Mammy." Shatner ended the night with more of the same, bashing both Nichols and Farrah Fawcett: "Your skin looks so much like fried chicken that Nichelle's mouth is watering." Where's the NAACP?
But do bear in mind something here. The actual show, pre-editing, was even worse, even more tasteless, three hours of nasty overindulgence. Blogger Lynda Foley of the fansite Trek Nation attended the taping and explained, "I came home and threw up." She found the vulgarity rude even by her own "rude and vulgar gal" standards. (For those who not only like to watch sewage but also swim in it, the "Uncensored" DVD surely will follow, as it did with last year's roast.)
The Shatner roast's audience of 4 million was the most-watched original program of 2006 for Comedy Central, another win ensuring another pile of reruns.
But let's put this in its proper perspective. This also means that more than 190 million Americans did not want anything to do with this garbage, which raises the salient point. The most disturbing thing about this broadcast isn't even the content. It's the fact that more than two-thirds of U.S. cable subscribers were forced to help subsidize this raunch with their cable bills because of the cable industry's regime of forced extortion. Cable choice is the one solution that will truly empower the consumer. Because many Americans don't really care to pay for what Comedy Central thinks is the "final frontier" of tastelessness.
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